Today, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, is American Diabetes Alert Day hosted by the American Diabetes Association. In honor of this national day of observance, Livonia, MI dentist Dr. James Stewart wants to discuss how oral health and diabetes are closely connected.
Is There a Connection Between Gum Disease and Diabetes?
Gum disease—an infection of the gums that causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth—is an unexpected condition that often occurs with diabetes. In fact, research shows that people with diabetes have an increased chance of developing gum disease, in addition to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and other serious health problems.
Recent research suggests that the relationship between gum disease and diabetes is a two-way street, meaning people with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease, and gum disease contributes to the advancement of diabetes by affecting the blood glucose levels.
How can I Prevent Dental Problems Associated with Diabetes?
If your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease and lose more teeth than non-diabetics, but you do have the ability to protect your teeth and gums.
To prevent dental problems associated with diabetes, consider the following:
- Control your blood glucose levels.
- Practice quality dental hygiene.
- Attend professional dental cleaning and exam appointments.
- Tell your dentist that you have diabetes so he or she can take the necessary precautions.
- Listen to the medical advice of your general physician and dentist.
- Avoid smoking.
- Clean dentures and other oral appliances daily.
- Postpone any non-emergency dental procedures if your blood sugar is not in good control.